For me, Tom Hanks is the epitome of class and real Hollywood charisma, so I gathered my entire family to watch A Hologram for the King with me because, let’s be real, when has Tom Hanks movie ever disappointed? Let’s just take a moment to remember Big, Forrest Gump, The Green Mile, A League of Their Own, The Terminal, Cast Away… And I could go on forever. Bottom line: Tom Hanks is a genius.
Now to the hologram… The movie is about an American sales rep Alan who travels to Saudi Arabia to sell his company’s holographic videoconferencing system to the wealthy king of Saudi Arabia, which turns out to be a bit of a task. When arriving in Saudi Arabia, Alan’s entire team lacks basic essentials such as food, wi-fi and air condition, which makes Alan struggle with the locals in order to save the day. Alan is recently divorced and is struggling financially, as he has to pay his daughter’s college, which is also the reason why he took the job in Saudi Arabia. To make everything even worse, Alan gets a cyst on his back, which requires tender care of the local doctor Zahra, and eventually, it leads to a romance.
Do you want me to be honest? This movie sucks. I was so excited about it because it looked like a nice comedy where I would laugh and enjoy the representation of the cultural differences but, instead, I ended up really disappointed. First of all, the movie is not funny and secondly, without knowing much about Saudi Arabia and their customs, I am more than certain that many things were a tad too unrealistic such as a married female doctor taking care of Alan? I know that there are Saudi female doctors but I really doubt that they can just go to the male patient’s room in the middle of the night to take care of him, let alone to swim naked with him after knowing him for a few weeks. And since when does everyone in Saudi Arabia speak English? And the signs on the road are both in Arabic and English? Unlikely in my imagination. Maybe I’m just nit-picking… Oh, and almost none of the actor who were supposed to play Arabs were actual Arabs! It was so painfully obvious…
Well, the aforementioned things are not the biggest problem in A Hologram for the King – what I had a problem with is the meaning and purpose of the movie. Alan eventually achieves what he came for but you end up thinking “so?”. The movie is called A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING – shouldn’t that be the center of attention of the movie? Apparently, the love story between Alan and Zahra was much more important. The movie presents some Danish characters (yay!) who also turn out to have no real meaning for the plot, but the director manages to give a nice representation of Danish party people, which, I guess, is cool. Tom Hanks’ performance was pretty solid and I have to say that I was very proud of Sidse Babett Knudsen, too.
A Hologram for the King barely deserves 1 out of 5 clapperboards because it’s about everything else in the world except that king and the hologram. Many elements in the movie are unrealistic and totally unimportant for the whole plot, and I just fail to understand how someone like Tom Hanks can agree to participate in a movie like this. Utter waste of time.